[UPDATED 7:30 p.m.]Cause of Pelham Restaurant Fire is Under Investigation

No one injured in fire at La Fontanella Ristorante.

Update, 7:30 p.m.: Carolyn Sherwin, a spokeswoman for the American Red Cross of Greater New York, said there were three apartments above the La Fontanella Restuarant. The familes that resided in two of the apartments declined assistance. A third family is currently on vacation and was not present at the scene Friday.

Update, 7 p.m.:Pelham fire Chief William Stone said the cause of a fire that started in the basement of the is unknown and that the incident is still under investigation.

The fire was called in at about 3:30 p.m.  It was contained to the building and firefighters had the situation under control at about 5 p.m.

Stone said the fire was challenging due to the amount of wood and metal inside the old, two-story building.

“It’s a labor intense fire to get a lot of guys here to open up and be able to see the fire before you could put it out,” Stone said.

Stone said the buiding is unihabitable at this point, but he believes repairs can be done on the structure in a short amount of time.

Mike Lee owns , which is located in the building right next to the restaurant. He said his wife noticed burning smell and fumes.

“I checked my store first, but I didn’t see anything,” Lee said. “So I went outside and checked next door at the restaurant and I saw a lot of smoke rise from the in the basement.”

Lee said he saw the manager of the restaurant tell everybody to get out the building before firefighters arrived.

Chief Stone said about 10 people were inside the building when the fire started. Stone said the fire caused substantial structural damage to the basement and travelled up the walls of the building to the kitchen and the second floor.

Two apartments located in the second floor of the apartment had smoke damage and structural damage from firefighters venting out the roof of the building.

“We had to open up the roof to let the heat and the smoke rise so that it didn’t mushroom out into the building,” Stone said.

At least one of the residents of the two apartments needed assistance from finding shelter Friday evening.

The owner of La Fontanella declined to comment at the scene Friday evening.

Stone said firefighters from Pelham Manor, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Eastchester, Scarsdale and Greenvillle for assisting at the scene. Stone gave extra praise to New Rochelle fire Chief Louis DiMeglio for being one of the first people at the scene.

Check back for more updates as they become available.

Original Story:No one was reported injured as firefighters knocked down a fire that apparently broke out in the basement of , 115 Wolf's Lane in Pelham this afternoon.

Pelham firefighters were called to the restaurant just before 4 p.m. Officials said the restaurant had been evacuated by the time firefighters arrived. Firefighters checked upstairs apartments in the building to make certain no was still in the building.

By about 4:30 p.m., officials said the fire appeared to have been knocked down.

Marie Tracy March 17, 2012 at 12:17 PM
who is Bates?


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